They (whoever “they” is) say in order to keep mankind going mothers will forget the pain and exhaustion associated with childbirth so that we continue to reproduce. What “they” don’t tell you is this amnesia doesn’t happen overnight. It took a good few months until the sugarcoating of my memory took over. But, hey, now we are itching for baby #2 so I guess it really does work.
It was a Thursday afternoon eight days after my due date and I was on my way to my regularly scheduled doctor’s appointment with my mom and sister. My mom had already taken off the week expecting to help me with a new born, but instead we had enjoyed my first week of maternity leave taking walks and basking in the gorgeous April sun. My doctor had started my appointment off saying that I could either be induced tonight or I could hold out the weekend to see if I go naturally. Looking back at a picture taken that day I was huge, but at the time I felt great and didn’t mind cooking my babe for a few more days so I opted to wait. Over casual conversation my doctor was using his outdated sonogram machine to check out the baby. He stopped and began feeling my belly with his hands. Then he told me that the baby was measuring 9lbs so I was going to be induced tonight! I was to report to the hospital at midnight to start the process.
Naturally, following my appointment we got some Surf Taco. You would think the hours leading up to your child’s birth would be exciting and dramatic, insert visions of expectant dad running around like a crazy person. In fact, being induced was nothing like a scene in the movies. We watched tv, I took a nap, I insisted my hubby drink a beer, and then we drove calmly to the hospital. The next day was a lot of waiting, coupled with being tortured by my sister taking videos of me. To be honest, the medical details leading up to the actual birthing process were all a blur. I assume at some point they broke my water. During my epidural I remember being terrified that I would move and paralyze myself. Sitting completely still while experiencing contractions every minute as they stuck a huge needle in your back was not an easy feat. But if you ask me, I killed labor. I kicked every contraction’s butt. Still, I went with the epidural, because really no one needs to be a hero. I made it through those contractions and now that my epidural kicked in I would give birth in painless bliss, right? Wrong. The meds decided to only work on one side of my body.
The doctor said not to press the button and administer more meds because you want to feel a little when you are pushing but what did he know. I may have pressed the button and the nurse may have pressed the button, I may have threatened my husband to press the button, but who is keeping tabs. 5pm on Friday I was finally ready to push. I always thought it would be like the movies- dark room, bright light, lots of people around, and your doctor is pushing you along. Reality- Bright room, window wide open (didn’t know until the shift switch 1.5 hours into it that people could see in to the windows), me, hubby, and the nurse. 2 hours of pushing, only stopping to throw up (apparently that happens). My hubby through everything was a champ. He looked at the top of our babe’s head crowning when the nurse kept insisting (something neither of us wanted), he prevented me from committing a sin when the 2nd nurse came in and really pissed me off, and he did not succumb to the annoying shit that nurse thought would motivate me to push the child out of my vagina. He knew me and he supported me.
My doctor made an appearance just in time to pull out a beautiful 8lb 14oz baby girl and place her on my chest. She was so perfect and round. And I was so tired. I couldn’t even feel anything at that point. I had this picture in my head that I would be overwhelmed with joy and tears of happiness would stream down my face. Reality was that I was tired. I was past the point of emotion. I am not sure if reality even hit me at that point. Our immediate families had joined us almost immediately after. The next time around, that will not be happening. I sat there and watched each one of them hold my bundled child and experience such amazing emotion. It was just something I couldn’t do at that moment. I mean, I couldn’t even go to the bathroom by myself at that point.
It happened eventually, the emotion that is, not the going to the bathroom by myself (come on I’m a mom now). Actually, I sometimes experience more emotion than I’d prefer. All that pain and exhaustion, the emotions and lack thereof, were all worth it. I received the most incredible gift that never stops giving, my beautiful, sassy girl, Emerson. And if you ask my sugarcoated brain now, child birth was a breeze and maybe I will try it au natural next time. Maybe.